Friday, March 31, 2006

True Grit Quiz

I rant a lot about how hard this business is to break into, and how it's even harder to succeed.

When people get the writing bug, it usually goes hand-in-hand with what I call "The Lottery Dream."

The Lottery Dream (TLD) is the fantasy that one day you'll be rich, famous, have movie deals, get on Oprah, and the world will finally realize what a genius you are.

All writers have TLD. Even bestsellers. But talent, hard work, and writing good books aren't enough for TLD to happen in reality. Luck still plays a part.

Some newbie writers convince themselves they don't have TLD. That they'd be perfectly content with no advance and a small print run, as long as they're published somewhere.

They are wrong. They'd be content, for a while, but human nature would demand they want more. That's how life works. Being satisfied is the same thing as being complacent, which is why you don't see many Buddhists running Fortune 500 companies.

The measure of a writer's grit is what finally makes them quit. At what point do you cry 'uncle' in your quest for TLD?

This quiz will tell you if you're in this for the long haul, or if your time would be better spent on some other more attainable goal.

True Grit Writing Quiz

  1. How long will you continue to try even if you don't succeed?
    a) Two years
    b) Five years
    c) Ten years
    d) I'll never give up
  2. How many rejections will you endure before you quit?
    a) 1-50
    b) 1-100
    c) 101-500
    d) I'll never quit

  3. How many unpublished books will you write before you stop writing?
    a) 1
    b) 2-5
    c) 6-10
    d) I'll never stop writing

  4. If you become published, how many hours will you spend promoting your work?
    a) 5 hours a week
    b) 10 hours a week
    c) 20 hours a week
    d) As many as it takes

  5. What are you willing to sacrifice in order to succeed?
    a) Hobbies
    b) Personal & vacation time
    c) Time with friends & family
    d) All of the above

  6. Why do you want to be a writer?
    a) Artistic expression
    b) Fame and notoriety
    c) Wealth
    d) This career chose you

  7. What is most important for writers?
    a) Talent
    b) Craft
    c) Luck
    d) Persistence

  8. How much will you compromise your integrity to sell a book?
    a) I won't ever compromise my integrity
    b) I'll only make editing changes if I agree with them
    c) I'll make most changes, but not all
    d) Pay me and I'll change anything

  9. If people hate you and your book, you'll:
    a) Be devastated and never write again
    b) Be upset, and try to please them by any means possible
    c) Shrug it off and keep doing what you want
    d) Try to understand their points and learn from your mistakes

  10. If you work your whole life but never get published, will you consider it:
    a) A waste of your life
    b) A disappointment, but at least you tried
    c) A bitter defeat
    d) A success, because you did it your way


If you answered "d" for most or all of the questions, it doesn't mean a damn thing. You might never become published or successful, no matter what you answered. But your chances are better than folks who answered a, b, and c.

If you answered "d" for five or more questions, here are four more questions for you:

  1. What is the difference between being stubborn and being persistent?
  2. What is the difference between being committed and being delusional?
  3. Is quitting an act of failure, or an act of self-awareness?
  4. In writing, is validation internal or external?

Later on I'll post my answers to these questions. Feel free to post your answers too.